Priesthood Restoration Site Dedicated

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On September 19, 2015, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided at the dedication of the site in Pennsylvania, USA, where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist. In the 1820s the area was known as Harmony, Pennsylvania, and many events in the early history of the restored Church occurred there:

  • The meeting of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, their courtship, and their early married life.

  • The arrival of Oliver Cowdery to assist as a scribe in the translation of the Book of Mormon.

  • The translation of most of the Book of Mormon.

  • The restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and (although the exact location is not known) the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  • The first baptisms performed by priesthood authority in modern times.

  • Revelations received that became 15 sections in the Doctrine and Covenants and a portion of the Pearl of Great Price.

The newly renovated site includes a visitors’ center, which doubles as a meetinghouse for a local branch; the reconstructed homes of Joseph and Emma and of Emma’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale; and access to the location on the Susquehanna River where it is believed the baptisms of Joseph and Oliver occurred.

“Harmony provided Joseph with spiritual solitude and protection, allowing him to focus on the translation of the Book of Mormon,” President Nelson said. “Through this period, the Lord tutored Joseph in his divine role as prophet, seer, and revelator.”

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, tour the replica of Joseph and Emma Smith’s home, where much of the Book of Mormon was translated.